How to Take care of your Gems?

How to Take care of your Gems?

Making the investment in quality gem stones is only the first step towards life-long enjoyment of the jewel. Like any other valued item, gems will look better and last longer if they are well taken care of. Of course care instructions are not printed on the gem, so you need to become educated by asking questions of your jeweler and looking to books for information on how to care for your gem stones.

Environment: It's important to remember that gem stones are not as hard or as durable as diamonds. Sudden temperature changes can cause some stones such as emerald, garnet, opal, peridot, tanzanite and topaz to crack or even shatter.

Amethyst, Kunzite and red tourmalene can fade when exposed to bright sunlight, so don't wear them to the beach. Malachite and turquoise, often found in
Native American jewelry, are very sensitive to chemicals such as ammonia and perfumes.

Alcohol and acetone (nail polish remover) will dissolve the fillers in emeralds and other filled or oiled stones. Dyed stones, such as lapis, jade and others are affected by solvents, and chlorine in the pool or the hot tub can pit and dissolve gold inlays.

Cleaning: The safest way to clean gem stones is with lukewarm water and mild soap that contains no ammonia. Brush the piece with a soft toothbrush and thoroughly dry it with a lint-free soft cloth. Allow it to air dry for an hour or so. You can also use a toothpick or dental water-pik to dislodge stubborn dirt.

Ultrasonic cleaners should not be used with most set gem stones. They do removed built-up dirt, but the sound waves can loosen stones from their settings and can even damage some types of gems.

Diamonds and jade are safe to clean with an ultrasonic cleaner. NEVER use an ultrasonic cleaner on emeralds, lapis lazuli, malachite, moonstone, opal, tanzanite, topaz or turquoise.

You should also avoid the use of ultrasonic cleaners with badly flawed gems, which can be further damaged by the sound waves, and don't use one with oiled or dyed stones or stones with glass filler. Some stones have inclusions that weaken the stone, so when in doubt, use the mild soap and water method.

Storage: Jewelry pieces should be stored in soft material, either wrapped or in pouches or pockets of padded jewelry bags. Never place a piece of jewelry on top of other jewelry, as the stones and mountings can scratch each other.

Find a secure place to store your jewelry. The first place a thief is going to look is in your jewelry box, so keep your fine jewelry in a safer place and use your jewelry box for your costume jewelry. If you have very expensive jewelry, and don't wear it often, consider renting a safe deposit box.

More Tips: Don't wear your jewelry while gardening, doing housework or participating in sports. Wear protective gloves if you can't bear removing your rings.

Take photographs of all your jewelry. If it's ever lost or stolen, you'll have documentation for insurance purposes.

Clean your jewelry on a regular basis, and check for loose stones. You can have a jeweler examine the settings for you.

If you take your rings off while washing, make sure your sink drain has a strainer or that the drain is plugged before you remove your rings. Buy a lovely ring spindle to keep near the sink. Otherwise, don't take the rings off!

Taking good care of your gem stone jewelry takes almost no time at all, but will assure you of years of pleasure as well as maintaining the value of the piece.

I'm Deena O'Daniel, an artist, writer and entrepreneur from Austin, Texas, by way of California.

Please visit my web site, [] for a large array of costume jewelry, china, pottery, collectibles and gifts.

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